Thursday, October 13, 2016

Funding Gap leads to Innovative Solutions by Redbridge Council

With news that London boroughs look set to face a huge £2bn funding gap by 2020, as a result of continuing cuts to local government funding, Redbridge council are taking up the challenge with some innovative new ideas.

And, our council leader, Jas Athwal, is leading the way and setting an example to all the other councillors by doubling up as a road sweeper with his new appliance of science, the “Glutton” machine. However, he’s only doing Ilford, so we need some volunteer councillors up here in Barkingside, hint!

Other measures include a Digital Hack Day. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a day of digital hacking. You did ask. Basically it’s an event for volunteers (they can’t afford to pay anybody, like consultants, unless it’s to manufacture “evidence” for their Local Development Plan) to contribute their skills and knowledge on how to get more people interacting with the council online. People (including councillors) cost money so automating services is cheaper (and reduces those job opportunities the politicians are always going on about creating). Here’s the new beta version of the Redbridge website.

But, there’s a sting in the tail for them. Barkingside 21 will be organising our own Digital Hack Day shortly to develop a new App to replace all our councillors, (while they’re out with their Glutton machines), and we hope to have this completed by mid 2017 so you will be able to vote for the digital equivalent in 2018.


  1. These machines are much more efficient than a man with a barrow. And in high footfall areas they will make a real difference to the number of cig bugs and chewing gum ends on the streets. Personally as a Councillor I weirdly enjoy picking up litter - I find it relaxing and I feel a sense of pride when an area is clean. I am sure we are very happy to get "volunteer councillors" out with the Glutton cleaning Barkingside High Street - I can just imagine Alan Weinberg, or Robin Turberfield out with the machine- I am sure they would be up to give it a go. I wait for the digital solution that replaces us - it would mean I would have a life that revolves beyond fly tipping for one.

  2. Even more efficient is a team working from a van, as I did in Eastbourne as a road sweeper. Two sweep down each side of the road and pile it up to very few yards, for two people behind to pick it up and put in van. Driver helps out as needed on messy bits. Rounds designed to track back every two hours to town centres that have a complete clean. Easy, very cheap, very efficient - team work -

    People with bins only worked in town centre, picking up between our regular sweeps.

    And what has Redbridge got against Gants Hill and frinton mews?

  3. I suggest a full review of all staff with cleaning maintenance estate maintenance as part of their roles in whatever departments or contracted out, and the creation of area teams with geographical responsibility for everything about streets parks schools housing their area.

    Also look carefully at other boroughs and maybe listen to residents who might have direct senior management experience of this stuff, but us citizens know nothing.